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PCB Sediment Cleanup Case Settled for $366 Million by Single Defendant, With Reopener for NRD

EPA Region 1 and the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection announced recently the largest ever single-site Superfund “cash-out” settlement, $366.25 million (plus interest), associated with the New Bedford Harbor Superfund Site in New Bedford, Massachusetts.

“Green” Marketing and Advertising Guides Revised by the FTC

Under the revised Green Guides, the FTC cautions advertisers on general environmental benefit claims, like “green” or “eco-friendly” due to the inability to substantiate such claims. Instead, marketers should qualify general claims with specific environmental benefits, and such qualifications should be clear, prominent, and specific.

California Supreme Court Addresses Insurance Coverage for Long-Tail Legacy Environmental Liabilities

In a long-awaited landmark ruling, the California Supreme Court in State of California v. Continental Insurance Company, 55 Cal. 4th 186, 281 P.3d 1000 (Cal. 2012), has held that insurers issuing CGL “occurrence” policies are obligated to pay all sums to indemnify policyholders for property damage attributable to the Stringfellow Superfund site. Additionally, the decision addresses “stacking” of policy limits when more than one policy is triggered by an occurrence, permitting each policy triggered to be called upon to the extent of its full limits, thereby allowing potential recovery up to the combined limits of all policies.

New Jersey Spill Act Requires Causation for Liability According to State Supreme Court

Companies with current or former operations in New Jersey, particularly those with operations situated on industrial properties and contaminated sites, have a new means to make the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) prove up responsibility for site contamination before joint and several strict liability may attach under the New Jersey Spill Compensation and Control Act (Spill Act). In a decisive unanimous opinion, the New Jersey Supreme Court recently held in NJDEP v. Dimant that the Spill Act requires a “reasonable link between the discharge, the putative discharger, and the contamination at the specifically damaged site.”

Dairy Company Settles Clean Air Act General Duty Clause and RMP Allegations for Refrigeration System Violations and Leaks

A dairy company in EPA Region 2 has agreed to pay a $275,000 civil penalty and to implement a Supplemental Environmental Project (SEP) valued at more than $3 million to resolve alleged violations of the Clean Air Act’s (CAA) General Duty Clause and Risk Management Plan (RMP) requirements. This latest settlement serves yet another reminder to companies that utilize anhydrous ammonia in industrial and commercial refrigeration systems (e.g., food service industry, warehousing and distribution, bakeries, cold storage, and pharmaceutical), as well as those that store anhydrous ammonia for use as an agricultural fertilizer (farm-supply companies and cooperatives), that EPA is aggressively enforcing the CAA regulations.

EPA’s 2012 Chemical Data Reporting Rule and TSCA Enforcement for Failure to Report Chemical Data

Did your business manufacture or import more than 25,000 lbs. of chemical substances (including byproducts) at any single site in calendar year 2011? If so, your company may be subject to EPA’s 2012 Chemical Data Reporting Rule, 40 CFR Part 711, under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) and you should have filed a submission to EPA on or before August 13, 2012.

Construction Companies Pay $270,000 to Settle Stormwater CWA Violations at 17 Construction Sites

On August 29, 2012, EPA announced a significant Clean Water Act enforcement action and administrative settlement associated with the agency’s construction stormwater permit requirements for land clearance activities at 17 constructions sites in the Mid-Atlantic States, many of which were federal or local government projects. In addition to paying a $270,000 administrative penalty, EPA ordered the companies to come into compliance on a going forward basis by undertaking certain prescriptive tasks at construction sites akin to injunctive relief, through an administrative order on consent.

Kansas Exempts Specific Pharmaceutical Wastes from Hazardous Waste Regulations

Healthcare facilities in Kansas, including hospitals, clinics, pharmacies, physician’s offices, and outpatient care centers, can take advantage of new state guidance designed to ease the burden of pharmaceutical waste disposal for a limited group of pharmaceutical products. On August 29, 2012, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) issued a guidance document entitled “Regulation of Pharmaceuticals from Non-Exempt Generators of Hazardous Waste” that exempts four classes of pharmaceuticals from hazardous waste regulations if the healthcare facility satisfies certain conditions.

EPA to Issue Final Vapor Intrusion Guidance by the End of November 2012

Nearly 10 years to the day when EPA issued its Draft Guidance for Vapor Intrusion, EPA is poised to finalize its Final Vapor Intrusion Guidance on or before November 30, 2012.

EPA Aggressively Pursuing FIFRA Enforcement of Misbranded and Unregistered Pesticides in Region 4, Region 5, and Region 7

On September 7, 2012, EPA announced the largest ever criminal fine and civil penalty, a combined $12.5 million enforcement action, under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), which regulates the manufacture, distribution, sale, and use of pesticides in the United States.

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